In this blog, our Vancouver dentists share with you tips on how you can get the most out of your treatment with Invisalign clear aligners, including how you can make them more comfortable, and end up with the best possible results.
How can I get the most out of my Invisalign clear aligners?
If you don't want to realign or straighten your teeth with braces and are looking for an alternative option, you might be able to use clear aligners which can have lots of advantages. You are able to remove them and they can align your teeth fairly discreetly.
If you and your dentist come to the conclusion that clear aligners are a good option for you, you might still have a few questions regarding the ways you can wear them effectively, and how you can have them fit into your busy schedule. Here, our dentists provide you with tips on how you can have the best clear aligners treatment experience possible.
1. Keep Your Aligners Clean
Because your Invisalign aligners are transparent and clear, they can easily display food particles or/and discolouration. This makes it important to thoroughly clean your teeth and aligner trays routinely every day. At night while you sleep, and by the end of the day bacteria builds up on your trays and teeth, and will have to be cleaned.
Rinse your aligners well every time you take them out of your mouth. We suggest washing them with clear, anti-bacterial soap, and soaking them in either denture cleaner or the cleaning solution that comes with your series of clear aligners.
Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth before putting the trays back in your mouth.
2. Schedule Your Switching Times
About every two weeks, you'll switch to a new set of clear aligners. It's important to switch to your next set in the series at the prescribed time so your teeth shift as they are supposed to and your treatment progresses as scheduled.
You can write it in your calendar or set a reminder on your phone to keep it at the top of your mind, and some clear aligner brands have an app designed to help you track your treatment.
3. Store Your Clear Aligners Properly
When you remove your clear aligners to eat, play sports, brush or floss you will have to keep them in a safe place. Store them in a safe location such as a plastic storage case that can fit in your pocket. This can protect them from damage or dirt and can help your teeth stay clean when you place them back in. If you leave them out, clean them well and soak them in a solution before putting them back in your mouth.
4. Give Your Teeth Time to Adjust
Your teeth will move in tiny increments with every set of clear aligners. Though the adjustment is not as difficult as with braces, which have brackets and wires to contend with, your teeth may still need a period of adjustment for the first few days you wear a new set. Some soreness is normal, but once your mouth adjusts you should be back to normal. Talk with your dentist about how you can make the adjustment easier, and keep dental wax around in case you need to apply it.
5. Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Did you know your Invisalign aligners can help you whiten your teeth? Because they are good at holding substances right up against teeth, you can use this to your advantage to keep remnants of the whitening agent and fluoride from washing away after teeth brushing.
6. Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene Habits
While proper oral hygiene is important for everybody, it's even more critical for patients who choose clear aligners. Since the point of clear aligners is to fit snugly against your teeth and realign them into their proper positions, you're dealing with a double-edged sword; anything on your teeth will be held there by your aligners.
Where usually, some bacteria, food and plaque would be rinsed away by your saliva, that won't happen when you have your clear aligners in. To keep your teeth squeaky clean and reduce your risk of decay and cavities, you'll need to brush and floss each time you remove your aligners to eat or drink anything other than water.
7. Change Your Aligners at Night
If you experience a little discomfort when you first change aligners, you can try switching them at night, so you can sleep during the first several hours. You can also alleviate some of the discomfort before bed by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
8. Wear Your Aligners for 22 Hours Every Day
A key part of treatment is making sure your Invisalign aligners get enough daily wear time so your teeth move into their proper positions. You will need to wear your aligners for about 22 hours every day, and that means minimizing the time they're off your teeth for eating, drinking and socializing.
As you get used to your clear aligners being on your teeth, any insecurity you may feel will likely disappear – and other people likely won't even be able to tell you're straightening your teeth. If you do happen to speak with a slight lisp during those first few days of treatment, practice talking to give yourself and your mouth a chance to adjust to your aligners.
9. Schedule Your Eating Times & Diet
Because you'll only have two hours in total to eat each day, you may find that by necessity most snacking will have to be cut out.
If you are trying to keep weight on, you may want to speak with your doctor or nutritionist to discuss how you can safely include more calories or protein into your meals. And, try to drink extra water, which will rehydrate you and replenish any water you may have lost due to excessive salivating, which may happen with clear aligners.
10. Keep Backup Aligners With You
Sometimes clear aligner treatment plans come with replacement aligners just in case a set becomes lost or damaged, but if your plan doesn't come with a backup, keep your previous set of aligners so you can use it as a backup if your current set becomes lost or damaged.
This is because it takes approximately a week for new aligners to come in, and during that time, you could lose essential progress if you aren't wearing them.
If you have been using your previous set while waiting for your replacement ones to arrive, you should restart the set you would have worn during your regular schedule and reset your reminders so you know when to switch to your new aligners in the future. Though this momentary mishap could set your treatment back a week, you would experience an even larger setback if you don't have a previous or backup set on hand to use.
11. Change Aligners in Private
Especially during those early days as you get used to treatment, you'll also be getting accustomed to removing and placing your aligners back in your mouth. You may want to do this in the privacy of a restroom instead of in public. Since the clear aligners will be a snug fit for your teeth, you may find it a bit challenging to remove them and put them back in properly without a mirror.
12. Ask Us Any Questions You Have
If you ever have any questions about your clear aligners, your treatment plan or how you can make wearing them easier, our Vancouver dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.